The Colours of My Sadness Are Running Down My Face
I start to cry.
I tell my crow that I feel as if I am in a cage.
I ask her if there is a cure for loneliness.
She says, when you are left alone, it rains grains of rice instead of droplets of water.
They congeal in your hair and weigh you down like cement.
You pick at the loose wool
and unravel your favourite jumper
and then get that feeling
that you’re about to burst into tears
so you breathe in
and stare at the floor for a beat
until you exhale like
you’re checking your breath
on a freezing January morning.
My crow is called Kat.
She tells me I should be happy because nothing can keep me in a cage.
Henry is a writer, poet and mental health essayist based in Somerset in the UK. He has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. His latest poetry collection is a collaboration about mental health with Dutch artist Marcel Herms and is available from Egalitarian Publishing.
An Ekphrastic Event with the Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso
This poetry “event”—poets responding to paintings by Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso and then the painter responding back—is one of countless literary events that the Covid-19 pandemic bumped from in person to online. In the spring of 2020, the students in my Advanced Poetry Writing course at Southeastern University, along with myself and my poetry collaborator Anna Cotton, were scheduled to perform at our local art museum, the Polk Museum of Art. For the sixth year in a row, we would have delivered our poems aloud while standing on the museum’s wood floors, standing between the very works of art on the walls and a live public audience in the halls.
In losing that physical experience, we lost something important. But in moving online, we gained several important things as well. We gained the opportunity—thanks to the generosity of Lorette C. Luzajic in providing our event a digital home at The Ekphrastic Review--to have the work remain available beyond a single evening. We gained the opportunity for the poet Lisa Pegram and several of the students she led in an ekphrastic poetry event at the Smithonian over a decade ago, the very event that inspired ours in Florida, to join us. And we gained the opportunity for the artist Dellosso, whose work we were slated to engage with in person at the museum in an exhibit titled A Brush with HerStory, to be part of the event—by responding to our responses with a video included at the end of this page. In short, what we lost in immediacy we gained in mediacy—in the ability to have connections and conversations across time and space, mediated by technology, that we would not have been able to otherwise have.
I do not like to speak of a silver lining in a catastrophe. There are no hidden blessings in a pandemic of disease and death ravaging our planet. But there are so many people responding to the situation by discovering and developing new ways to connect and create. We’re so glad to be part of that conversation with this event.
Paul T. Corrigan
Hidden in Plain Sight
What sorcery is such to capture the moon,
place it in a gilded cage,
dangle the keys on foreign fingertips?
The hinge creaks
as she opens the door
to devour my light.
What alchemy swirls the spoon in the tea cup,
where my glow is channelled,
that she might drink until she is full?
In her wake, I am left crescent. Hungry.
I hum. Vibrate. Beam, even.
These are involuntary acts
like blink or breath. They supersede will.
These waves of sound. This constant
rhythm that beats so beautifully against the glass
she is compelled to dance. Drown
her own misery to the tune of mine.
This music brings her joy. She cannot reach these notes.
Or hear the crack inside.
My life force is drained. But a moon
will not be extinguished. Even as it suffers,
to shine is its nature.
I fade, then rest
before assuming my next form
Paso a paso, el remedio--
Step by step, the cure.
Lisa Pegram, MFA is a DC native living in Curaçao. A writer, arts integration specialist and personal chef, she is founder of the Shakti Brigade, an international women arts collective that juxtaposes literature, visual arts, music and wellness.
(Should your soul resemble a moon
shrunk lamp size or a sheet worn ghost thin
or a negative drying in a darkroom
or an infant cholicy gumming spoonfuls of gruel
or an owl old and caged watching out with one large eye
your symptoms require time
Paul T. Corrigan
Paul T. Corrigan teaches creative writing and academic writing at the University of Tampa. His essays and poems appear in a number of publications, including The Ekphrastic Review. Twice he won the Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge.
تم پیچھا کر رھے تھے
صدف پیتے ہوئے اور
جن خلیج پر۔
ریتیلی ساحل پر
صرف سرمئی سوٹ میں ملبوس
میں نے تم سے اتنا پیار کبھی نہیں کیا
جتنا اس دن کیا
Tum picha kar rahay thay
sadaf pitay huway aur
gin khaleej per.
Raitilee sahil per,
sirf surmaee suit mai malboos,
mai nai tum say itna piyar kabhi nahi kiya
jitna uss din kiya,
You were chasing
sipping oysters and
gin down by the bay.
At the sandy coast,
suited simply in grey, I
never loved you more
than that day,
and night, bright
stars, dark shore.
Lorette C. Luzajic, translated into Urdu by Saad Ali
The English version of this poem was first published in Aspartame, by Lorette C. Luzajic (Mixed Up Media Books, 2016.)
Saad Ali (b. 1980 C.E. in Okara, Pakistan) has been brought up in the UK and Pakistan. He holds a BSc and an MSc in Management from the University of Leicester, UK. He is an existential philosopher-poet. Ali has authored four books of poetry i.e. Ephemeral Echoes (AuthorHouse, 2018), Metamorphoses: Poetic Discourses (AuthorHouse, 2019), Ekphrases: Book One (AuthorHouse, 2020), and Prose Poems: Βιβλίο Άλφα (AuthorHouse, 2020). He is a regular contributor to The Ekphrastic Review. By profession, he is a Lecturer, Consultant and Trainer/Mentor. Some of his influences include: Vyasa, Homer, Ovid, Attar, Rumi, Nietzsche, and Tagore. He is fond of the Persian, Chinese and Greek cuisines. He likes learning different languages, travelling by train, and exploring cities on foot. To learn more about his work, please visit www.saadalipoetry.com.
Lorette C. Luzajic's creative writing has been widely published in hundreds of literary journals online and in print. She has been twice each nominated for the Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net, with one poem making it to finalist. She has five poetry collections, two of which are ekphrastic: Aspartame and Pretty Time Machine. Lorette is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review. She is also an award-winning visual artist whose works have been collected in at least 25 countries. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
Click here to view more than 150 square foot collage paintings.
Tanka 1 - Dolmen Axeitos, Galicia, Spain
óm' chroí réamhstairiúil
ó shaol seo na gcloch
mo bheannacht ort
beir barróg orm led' ghilese
from my prehistoric heart
from my petrified existence
greetings to You
embrace me with Your light
tá sé ag cur báistí
le míle bliain
nó níos mó, a chumann
fearthainn ón bhfarraige
ina siollaí caoine
it has been raining
for a thousand years
or more, beloved
rain coming in from the sea
in gentle syllables
ní thuigtear níos mó an bhrí
atá leis an Mên-an-Tol
neosfaidh mé anois duit é
bíodh sé ina rún daingean
long gone, beloved
days when men knew
what it was: the Mên-an-Tol
I shall tell You now
the secret must be ours
The English versions of these poems first appeared in Modern Literature.
Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland. He is a poet, translator, haikuist, tankaist, playwright, essayist and novelist.
Inspired and indebted to mythology, Margaret McCarthy brings the eye of a poet to her photography, exploring archetypes of myth and dream in her imagery. Recent honours include Honorable Mention in 2020’s 14th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, and a Merit Award in the 2020 All About Photo Awards. She was named among the “Best of the Best Emerging Fine Art Photographers” by BW Gallerist Magazine; Artzealous chose her as one of “Four Photographers to Keep Your Eye On in 2016.” McCarthy’s extensive list of exhibitions include: the Fogg Art Museum, The Griffin Museum of Photography, the Overseas Press Club and The Hudson River Museum, as well as numerous galleries, universities and public exhibition spaces. Her “Divine Feminine” series is now part of the Kinsey Institute Art Collection. A few of the fine art publications where her work has appeared include Musee, Lenscratch, Shadow and Light, and Parabola.
Her mind always wandered as her gaze slowly drifted far off like her eyes saw something other people couldn’t see; her eyes closed and rested as she kept it in her soul and sang it, peacefully in silence.
For she wrote with words, words and words—until there came a day where all her words have turned into water; she dreamt of a whale singing a hymn to her; a singing whale swimming in the deepest ocean of stars; she became a whale and floated past the noise like a sea of strangers; souls like stars swirling in blurs of light that she can’t see, that to her were nameless and voiceless, but then she looked and listened closer, she saw their faces and read their names and recalled her own voice back, then sang & the stars sang & laughed with her; a music so unfathomed sung by drifting souls at the end of worlds. Did the past stars hear it? The cry of the old world torn apart? She wondered, for all the new waters that fill the sky are drops of a divine love immemorial; at the end of the world from the grief god wrought out the splits of her heart he made a meeting of oceans, it washed away the skies, forged her teary pearls into new stars, all the while her soul rests & drifts beneath his throne in divine deep, dives into his dream as her wounded words turn to waves; her lost voice sounding seas and her healing heart forever silently sings on its strings an unknown, mournful and majestic melody of his silent, serenaded symphony.
The universe is a whirlpool of infinity where everything drifts in motion as the skies became nothing but an endless sea of stars; waves that carry the starry yellow droplets of people’s souls to meetings in one big blue ocean floating on a never-ending dream where she now floats: the sky above her head and the ocean beneath her feet collided together into one; is her heart pouring or is her mind perpetuating? Is she flying or falling? Is this pain or peace? Are those tears or tranquility? She closes her eyes and sees a sun in her soul burning, beaming as her heart and mind in unison; her thoughts and emotions in flow; she is floating, dreaming as she hears stars laughing, if anyone could listen really, really close, there is a song of someone calling out to her soul in the distance.
She floats this ocean of darkness; a stillness with no sound, a serenity with no sight, a faith with no familiar; Her tears turned pearls that made a billion stars; broken lights that seek her and colours that find her in an edge beyond an end and a peak beyond paradise for she is in too deep yet she can breathe in this ocean beneath his throne of heavens as God’s invisible hand holds her but like water she seeps through his fingers so he crowned her a rose thorny wreath and made her into soul of waves in crystalline sheath like swimming dream underneath with no words, no thoughts; but only a strange melody, a music sung in streams.
Whoever said the waters of her heart weren’t blood? She said this to a ghostly world that possessed her as she feared it would die from drought and despair. So, she rained pearls of white daffodils and poured roses as she sang for its fate with no rest.
She can’t recall how many eons have passed since she’s been drifting in this dream. Here beyond time and space with nothing but an eternal starry night full of yellow stars that float like glimmering pearls on the waves ascending on suspended blue. Her star, a sun bursting within her soul that no matter how she shines on the world it can’t be seen for the love she felt was blind and she could see that in the remnants of the old world that she knew the moment she died on the day she met her fate by drowning in the dark depths when she saw it by a dreaming tree and it took her by storm in its devil form; The world was lost and no one knew its old name, but she did and she loved it nonetheless, and cherishes how the letters brim in mindful meaning and transcend truth and time. It took her by heart, taught her by hand, inspired her to write the scripts of the sky, taught her how to verse in the tongues of Babylon, to listen to the songs of Solomon, to read the books of revelations, to see into souls, to dance in damnation, how to walk on water and weave the fabric of space, how to stop time and fly, how to dream in death and float in prayers, to live and love, to drink darkness and shine on the world, to laugh like stars forever lost in spiritual joy embraced by the silence of this sublime and drenched in serenity for it all was in her heart, her heart was an ocean and all her memories were beloved, they were an ocean in a drop; a drop that resides deep in her, waves silently crashing on the surface of her eyes, riverbeds cascading slowly on her cheeks, the sky walls melted and her heart split in deluge where everything became water, she became water, everything was blue; she drowned and woke up in an afterlife dream; for god wrote her fate like all the other immortal martyrs & remnants of the old world memory; heaven screamed her name, angels chimed for her grief, hell scorched her to believe, demons warned of the curse, the sun spattered and the moon bled, people prayed for her salvation; a prayer upon every red splinter of her broken heart scattered to mosaics on rose windows in every church.
The world she knew is gone. Maybe the old world never knew it, maybe the old world never saw it, but she did as she closes her eyes and she remembers its name, she remember its name and she still feels it everywhere, in every drop of her being, every intricate sliver is entangled in waves and they all echo:
Beloved. Her home is beloved. Always beloved. Forever beloved. Everything is in a state of god. Everything is in a state of grace. Everything is in a state of her. Everything is in a state of one.
And so she lies here in this ocean beneath the throne of heavens; she became a whale and sings this eternal hymn, angels chime along until everything ripples as she drifts and dances dreaming in this divine deep as oceans pour on the old world and it’s washed anew. Everything is cleansed. God salvaged every soul and they all swim in sapphire unison. There is no longer heaven nor hell or a mountain in between. No sins or deeds. No judgement or doom. No fear nor freedom and the sun will shine for all. The stars will laugh for all and the world will know its name.
Enas R. is a contemporary artist born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Enas is a multidisciplinary who grew up with a passion for all forms of art and enjoys painting and creative writing. She holds a BA in English literature and a postgraduate degree in Learning and Development and practiced art all her life as her personal passion. She believes in expressing emotions in various surreal ways that transcend form by painting with words and writing in colours and bringing two magical worlds of reality and imagination together in order to create a new way to communicate and connect with people across all cultures. Her poems have been featured on Greythoughts. Find more about her artwork on instagram: @_Artistenas
Vincent van Gogh
Kijken tot waar het moeten ontstijgt
aan wat men meent te zien,
tot waar een wuivend graanveld
vlaagloos overgaat in het wezen
van de wind, het zaad in de zak
van de zaaier in kiemkracht
en het donkerend landschap
in een zelfportret,
op verblindend moment
als dat van u zelf herkend:
in bloedgeel en hoerengroen,
in graanrood en kraaienblauw,
Vincent van Gogh
Gazing at where compulsion arises
from what one thinks one sees,
at where a swaying field of grain
shifts unflurrying into the being
of the wind, the seed in the sower’s
pouch in germinative force
and the darkening landscape
in a self-portrait,
at a blinding moment
as that self-recognised:
in blood-yellow and whore-green,
in grain-red and crow-blue,
Albert Hagenaars. Translation, John Irons.
Albert Hagenaars (1955, Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands) was initially active as a visual artist and gallery owner. Besides poems, novels and translations, he also writes critical reviews on literature and modern visual art for different newspapers and the National Library Service. Several of his books have been translated, into English, German, French, Indonesian and Romanian. Albert Hagenaars has travelled a lot, in, amongst others, the United States, Latin-America and the Far East. He spends his summers living and working in Java (Indonesia), the birth place of his wife. Therefore his most important themes are travel, intercultural relations and alienation. In 2007 he received the Sakko prize, an oeuvre award, which is provided by Tamoil Nederland BV yearly. www.alberthagenaars.nl
John Irons, born 1942, studied French, German and Dutch at Cambridge, where he wrote a Ph. D. thesis on poetic imagery. A professional translator for twenty years, his poetry translations have mainly been from Dutch and the Scandinavian languages. He lives in Odense, Denmark.
The man in the window is cheesecake;
if I could soar across Main St.
and land in his arms, I’d eat him for dessert.
He’s caramel poured in those low-slung jeans,
a Sugar Daddy™ (‘lasts forever if you lick it right’).
He’s marzipan, clean-cut, the jut of his hipbone
reflecting the sun. I’m come undone
by the clockwork of his days,
his devil’s food dismount from that Shimano aluminum bike,
how he disappears inside the foyer.
If he were mine,
I’d ride him like a stolen bicycle.
He strips down to sweetmeat, Monday through Friday, 5 p.m.
“Happy Hour,” when
he hangs the bike on the wall.
And me, happy to watch his muscles ripple.
He stretches out on the bed, my creature of habit,
his O’Henry™ straining against its wrapper.
This I know:
He’s an all-day sucker.
He doesn’t believe in drapes.
Alexis Rhone Fancher
This poem was first published in Plume.
Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Poetry East, Hobart, VerseDaily, American Journal of Poetry, Duende, Plume, Diode, Pedestal Magazine, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, and elsewhere. She’s authored five published poetry collections, most recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), and The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019). EROTIC: New & Selected, from New York Quarterly, and another full-length collection (in Italian) by Edizioni Ensemble, Italia, will both be published in early 2021. Her photographs are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Pithead Chapel, Heyday and Witness. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. www.alexisrhonefancher.com
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